Referee by Avinash Kunnath via Flickr

As some of you have noticed, the Boys’ Semi-Finals have been riddled with controversy. It’s due to pure human error on my part – somehow, I jotted down the wrong winner in a Quarter-Finals match: Nathaniel won, but I advanced Tobias to the next round.

I’ve been puzzling over what to do ever since Patricia alerted me to the problem.

The two obvious possibilities are:

  1. Retract the original poll and issue a new one, pitting Archer against Nathaniel, as it should have been, even if it means that occasional visitors’ original votes are discarded;
  2. Continue as is, with Tobias remaining in the Semi-Finals. After all, referees make bad calls in sports all the time, and once the game is done, well … the game is done.

The first case requires rejecting hundreds of votes already cast, while the second scenario shortchanges fans of Nathaniel.

But then I thought of a third option, and it is the one I’m going to take.

While basketball is, necessarily, limited to two teams, March Madness Baby Names is not bound by court size. So I’m going to let both the Semi-Final polls continue as they are, but the Boys’ Finals will have three, rather than two, contestants: the winner of Archer v. Tobias, the winner of Finn v. Cian, and Nathaniel.

It’s an imperfect solution – the perfect solution is, of course, a souped-up DeLorean and a healthy supply of plutonium.

My apologies for the confusion, and thank you for your patience. March Madness has been great fun for me, and I hope one bad call by the ref doesn’t put you off the idea entirely!

The Boys’ Finals will post around 1:00 AM my time on Saturday morning, and I do hope you’ll come back and vote for your favorite of three!

About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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What do you think?


  1. Patricia, I’ll pull the actual numbers (tally of votes cast and the percentages) before I post the final round!

  2. You are all right, this is just a fun internet game, and Abby’s way of solving this is fine by me. I happened to notice that Nathaniel won the second round when I went back to look at the final stats in the last round for both the boys and the girls, just curious about how much each winning name won by. I don’t care which name eventually “wins” but do think these kinds of games are more fun when we know that all names advanced fairly. Those of us who would have voted for Nathaniel in this round can cheer ‘him’ on in the finals.

  3. Well, I hadn’t noticed. And, fortunately, it’s just a fun internet game – without millions of dollars or futures on the line – so small missteps are completely forgivable. And really, reissuing a whole new poll would have been slightly overkill for such a little thing.

    Besides, I highly doubt that Nathaniel would carry the day anyway. I mean, ultimately I guess we’ll see when it comes down the final three vote, if he beats out the other two participants.

  4. I didn’t notice either! I think your solution makes perfect sense. Looking forward to the finals 🙂

  5. Hadn’t even noticed. It’s just a little fun in a crazy world. Have been thoroughly enjoying our March Madness as well as the daily write-ups. Hmmm, I wonder what names we’ll be voting on NEXT year!

  6. Interesting solution and perhaps not an apt comparison. Yes, referees do sometimes SUBJECTIVELY make bad calls, but there is no OBJECTIVE doubt about it — Nathaniel won the last round and thus ‘he’ and his fans deserved to advance to this round. Tobias now has a chance to win the whole thing even though he clearly lost in the second round. But it looks like Tobias may lose this round and if so, that makes the final round somewhat more fair: Nathaniel already beat Tobias and shouldn’t have to compete against him again. I’m expecting and hoping it will be Nathaniel, Archer and Finn who compete for first place for the boys. Meanwhile I decided not to vote for either Archer or Tobias in this round. (I probably would have eliminated the earlier voting and started all over with the correct participants a day or two ago.)

  7. I think this is the fairest decision Abby. I honestly didn’t even notice, now that Eamon is out…

    In any case, I really love the March Madness game; it’s been great fun!